REMEMBERING VICTIMS OF WAR
As it appears that my posts about the "Four Agreements" may have bored some of you (seeing as how no one has made a comment), I will move on and try something a little more topical. Since yesterday was Memorial Day, why don't I start there?
There were many articles and stories all over newspapers and television about Memorial Day ceremonies across the country to honor those that have served in the military and put themselves in harm's way to protect, what they believed to be, our freedom. There is no doubt that the men and women who wear the U.S. military uniform often make the greatest of sacrifices including their own precious lives and I honor their commitment to their ideals and willingness to give up so much so that our citizens may have more.
But what about the soldiers who served in opposition to our own during times of armed conflict? What about the nameless and faceless civilians who are caught in the crossfires of war? When and how can we honor them? Should we?
Well, some veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars have come together to push for a national day of remembrance to remember ALL those who have died in armed conflict. These veterans attended several Memorial Day ceremonies in and around NYC over the weekend and held signs that read: "Veterans Remember Our Fallen Soldiers; Soldiers of the Other Side; and Innocent Civilians." The hope is that by acknowledging civilian deaths during war people will unify in their opposition to all war and push for a U.S. foreign policy that commits more aggressively to using diplomacy in matters of conflict around the globe.
In the words of Howard Zinn, "No war is a just war," in so much as war results in the death of countless innocent civilians and destroys infrastructures and lives for decades after the gunfire has ended. And let's face it, war is most often not about the citizens of any particular country - it's about the clash between two governments in which the citizens are left to fight and pick up the pieces.
While it is important to insure that no soldier is forgotten for his/her sacrifice - it is just as important to remember those who did not choose to be put in harm's way and as a result died because of an armed conflict. ALL HUMAN LIFE IS VALUABLE - uniformed or otherwise.
So what do you think? Should there be an official day of remembrance for ALL victims of war? Is it feasible? And if so, should it be held to coincide with our current Memorial Day or be celebrated separately?
Let me leave you with my new email quote as my hope for the future: "There never was a time when, in my opinion, some way could not be found to prevent the drawing of the sword." --Ulyesses S. Grant